The Jennings County Historical Society is a not-for-profit 501© 3 organization. Our mission is to "present, preserve and document the history of Jennings County." The North American House, society headquarters and historical museum, offers a high-quality history center in the old time arts with programs designed to teach and display the evolution of Jennings County. Thousands of unique artifacts are on display and an archives of historical documents/photos may be used upon request.
The museum, which is owned and maintained by the historical society, was built in 1838 as a Stagecoach Stop and Inn. The Society sponsors 3 major events/festivals, which bring more tourists to Jennings County than any other organization. Over 20,000 tourists visit Society sponsored programs and events. The whole county realizes an economic impact from the Society's festivals. All event proceeds are used to maintain the museum and preserve the county's rich heritage. For more information on these events, check out the Events tab.
Planning a visit to the museum or want to arrange a tour for a group? We are open every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 11am-4pm, during festivals, or by appointment. Admission is free. To contact the museum, please call (812) 346-8989. If you need to talk to someone on a day when the museum is closed, you may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Jennings County Historical Society Curator, Chris Asher at (812) 350-7081 or County Historian Sheila Kell at (812) 346-1806 or Volunteer Lou Malcomb at (812) 320-7620. We are always looking for and welcoming new volunteers to help with the museum.
Where are we located? Vernon, Indiana is located approximately midway between Louisville, Kentucky, Indianapolis, Indiana and Cincinnati, Ohio. From Interstate 65, take the Seymour/North Vernon Exit east to North Vernon on US Hwy 50. At the junction of US Hwy 50 and Hwys 3/7, travel south approximately two miles to Vernon. We are located across the street at the northeast corner of the Jennings County Courthouse, one of Indiana's oldest courthouses.
Jennings County is located in southeastern Indiana and is home to just over 27,000. The county seat of Vernon, founded in 1815, is the smallest in the state and home to a courthouse dating back to 1860. The entire town is registered as a historic district.
Located in the museum, our gift shop is where visitors can purchase books, pamphlets, and other items connected to the history of Jennings County.
The Jennings County Public library, located in North Vernon, Indiana is a very good place to begin your genealogy research. They hold indexes to many of the early county records. The library also houses a set of binders containing reading of the cemetery stones for a very large portion of Jennings County. Most of these reading were done in the early 1970s. The library also have a very large obituary card file, that is being added to frequently.
The Court records begin in 1817, and most are still held in the Courthouse that was built in 1859. At the courthouse you will find the original marriage record volumes. Until the mid-1880s only the bride, groom and officiate of the ceremony were recorded. There is an occasional "consent to marry" attached if either party was underage, but they are few. The will and probate records as well as other records requiring action by the court are also held with the Clerk of Courts.
Recently an annex was built to house many of the other county offices. This annex is across the street from the old courthouse. In the annex you will find the Recorder's office where the land transaction records are housed. Also you will find in this building the Department of Health office which holds the birth and death records for Jennings County. Birth and death records were not collected until 1882. Many of the early death records are very sketchy in the amount of data they collected.
Our society is dedicated to preserving the rich history of Jennings County and has several books for sale relating to Jennings County's history, which may help you with your research. Visit our Gift Shop page to learn more.